WIC staff at Glenn County practice social distancing

WIC makes rapid changes to serve families during COVID-19 pandemic

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — NEWS: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is considered an essential service. WIC staff in California are serving families during the COVID-19 pandemic, including families who never before received benefits, but are now in need of assistance.

Following Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 30, the California Department of Public Health WIC Program has been implementing emergency protocols to provide benefits and expand the approved WIC food list to best serve families while protecting the health and safety of WIC participants and staff.

WIC provides support to low-income families with children under the age of 5 with nutritious foods for pregnant or breastfeeding parents, infants, and children, as well as nutrition education, breastfeeding support and breast pumps. Nearly one million women, infants and children are served each month in California, through 83 WIC local agencies with over 500 clinic locations. Nearly 4,000 grocers are authorized to provide WIC foods.

California recently completed transitioning from paper checks to a WIC debit card for WIC food purchases. This historic improvement makes shopping and participating in WIC easier, especially important during a crisis.

All 83 WIC local agencies are providing services to current and new participants. Clinics may be closed to the public, but staff are providing services by phone, text, email, and video conference and some see select participants in person. Families are provided WIC cards and breast pumps using creative methods such as drive-through pick-ups, receiving cards slid under the door from WIC staff, using drop boxes at WIC clinics and by mail or expedited shipment. WIC card benefits can be loaded remotely, reducing the need for families to visit WIC local agencies.

Because many WIC shoppers reported they were unable to find WIC foods such as eggs, bread, and milk, WIC expanded the food list with hundreds of new foods available now through May 31. WIC staff can assist with information on the expanded foods, and the WIC app can scan bar codes to identify foods on the expanded list.

Information on the food list and WIC app is also online:

Families should not hesitate to call their WIC local agency for information on enrolling or continuing WIC services. Check online for WIC eligibility and locate the closest WIC office here:

“The California WIC Program is doing an outstanding job serving families during this crisis and will continue this critical support as families recover from this economic downturn,” said Karen Farley, Executive Director, California WIC Association.

California WIC Association (CWA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1992 by directors of WIC local agencies administering the WIC program.

California WIC Association
Sarah Diaz
(530) 276-1388

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*Photo caption: WIC staff at Glenn County practice social distancing and wear masks while serving WIC families.

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